Hand me Downs: Mage
Welcome to the third instalment of my 10 part series on how to best prepare for levelling a new character of a given class. This time, we look at the magical masters of Fire, Frost and the Arcane, the versatile Mage! This guide will cover levelling specs, heirlooms and professions. It also assumes you have access to a level 80 character and a reasonable amount of gold.
Understanding a Mage
Mage is a pure ranged DPS class. All three talent trees are devoted to DPS. The first is Arcane, a raiding and PvE dps tree with some limited PvP potential, and an extremely simple DPS rotation. The second is Fire, with different raiding uses and some PvP application, with stronger AoE components. The third is the heavy PvP and levelling tree, Frost, with the most control over enemies. The recommended talent tree to level as is Frost, as it will mean the mobs won’t have time to reach you before they die, saving your squishy character. Later in the game, you will be able to grind massive packs of mobs using a talent-enhanced Blizzard.
You should fill up the Frost tree before moving on to the last few ‘smoothing out’ talents in Arcane . Also, when purchasing Glyphs, you want to be using the Frost Nova Glyph as soon as the slot opens up, and Ice Barrier Glyph next time you get a new major. The Ice Lance glyph is nice for big shatter combos. Alternatively, you can use the Glyph of Eternal Water, which makes your 51pt Water Elemental a permanent pet, with all the advantages and disadvantages this comes with. This will disable the Water Elemental’s freeze ability.
When soloing as a Mage, you should take care to be at maximum range from the thing you want to kill. Mages are amongst the squishiest classes in WoW, and there’s no sense in taking risks for the sake of speed (graveyard walk takes longer than adjusting your distance.) When you log on, create several stacks of water and food. Mages chew through their resources fast, and it’s always good to have some on hand. Don’t forget at 20 you get Teleports, meaning you can safely put your hearthstone at your current questing hub. Teleporting is also amazingly useful for quick restocks, repairs and training. Once you’re past level 40, people may pester you for portals to places, deal with this how you will. Evocation is a nice tool for getting all your mana back fast, saving you a drink stop, or in dungeons when there isn’t a chance to drink, it’s amazing then too. Counterspell is a useful spell when you get it, a ranged interrupt is excellent for dealing with casters, both solo, in a party and in PvP. In AoE situations, Blizzard is your best tool, it’s a targeted, persistent and channelled spell. You can always use Iceblock to save yourself, but it’s pretty useless when soloing – mobs will carry on attacking until it breaks and they kill you. Only really good if you can be healed up whilst inside the block. Can be used to save from falling damage.
In terms of buffs, always maintain your Armor. You should be using Frost Armor until you get Ice Armor, then swap to Mage Armor. Always keep up Arcane Intellect. If you’re soloing, keep up Dampen Magic (protects against enemy casters, but also weakens heals on self, so don’t use this in a group.)
In terms of talents: Fingers of Frost allows you to get shatters on bosses, and thus allows you to use the high-damage mode of deep freeze. It also allows you to get more use out of blizzard, as FoF procs mean you can get shatters against the targets not frozen by your blizzard. A properly specced AOE frost mage is a devastating thing to have in a dungeon group. I also take brain freeze to add a bit of interesting single target fun, as you can still shatter with a fireball as long as the target is frozen or fingers has procced.
Your basic spell usage should look something like this:
If Mobs are close:
Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, Blink, Frostbolt till dead
If you’re at range:
Frostbolt till dead!
Later on, you can start using Ice Lance on frozen targets, a good spell to use on the move. Frost Mages are pretty simple to play.
Weapon: Dignified Headmaster’s Charge Enchanted with Enchant Weapon – Spellpower
Shoulders: Tattered Dreadmist Mantle
Chest: Tattered Dreadmist Robe Enchanted with Enchant Chest – Greater Stats
Trinket: Discerning Eye of the Beast x2
The enchants are not vital, the main part you need is the Shoulders and the Chest for the experience bonus. The other items are just for optimum speed and levelling. You want to be looking out for cloth Gear with the following stats on it: Intellect, Spellpower, Crit, Haste.
Professions for Mages
The main recommended profession for Mages is Tailoring – you will be able to craft lots of gear for yourself to wear, all the way from 1-80, and in Northrend levels you will be able to add Embroidery to your cloak for large DPS boosts, and very cheap leg enchants. Tailoring is completely self supported, however most people take Enchanting with it, so you DE the things you don’t need whilst levelling Tailoring. Also, some Tailoring bags require Enchanting materials like dusts.
So there you have it! I hope this guide is most useful to you. Watch this space for the next class to be covered, and happy levelling!
EDIT: Thanks to Cthulhu for adding his Frost Mage feedback.